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My Inbound Marketing Advice to Barry Feldman

By John McTigueJan 26, 2012

I usually get pretty annoyed when people try to "pick my brain" for free. Adrienne Graham wrote a great blog post about this last year, "No, You Can't Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much". If I were an A/C or car repair person, would you ask me to fix your A/C or car for free? Of course not. I had a conversation with Barry Feldman yesterday which pretty much boiled down to a couple of questions he had for me, to pick my brain in other words. I thought about his questions and realized that I could possibly help other people in the same boat. So I'm swallowing my pride and offering some free advice to Barry and other folks struggling with inbound marketing their small businesses. The thing is, Barry, be careful what you ask for.

advice to barry feldman about inbound marketing

Barry's Questions

  • What's offered at your site (and what [do] you think I should offer)?
  • What process the visitor should then experience (short form, long form, no form)?
  • What metrics will help me understand what is and isn't working?

My Answers

What's offered at your site (and what [do] you think I should offer)?

Barry, you're a writer (and apparently a darned good one by virtue of your client list). So write. Start with 3-5 awesome blog posts per week. I know, this is what you do for a living and you don't want to give away your good stuff for free. Get over it. It's marketing, and marketing costs money. You're hiring yourself to write blogs - that's your marketing budget. Don't worry about SEO, PPC, lead capture forms, free downloads or any of that other inbound marketing stuff. Just write great stuff and share it through your favorite channels, friends, relatives etc. Trust me, this approach works. I'll share a story about that.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post called "How to Create a Cool Website Portfolio Using Flickr". It was a really simple description of a really simple technique to show off a web design portfolio on your site - took me about 30 minutes to write. Big deal. That silly little blog post has been one of the most visited pages on our website, accounting for over 2400 visits and ranking #2 on Google for "flickr portfolio", one of our most prolific search keywords. How did I optimize this blog and garner such a following? I didn't. I just wrote it and published it. Period. My point is that great content is enough. If your skill is writing great content, do that. The rest will follow.

What process the visitor should then experience (short form, long form, no form)?

Stop obsessing about your website. You have a nice Wordpress site with all of the requisite stuff on it. All you need is your blog and a "contact me" form. That's it. Let your writing do the talking. Write it and they will come.

What's offered at your site (and what [do] you think I should offer)?

I think you should offer Barry Feldman. Start typing now and don't look up until you have 300,000 fans following your blog. Some of those fans will become customers. This is how the great bloggers make a living, and the really good ones make a ton of money. When their fingers get tired, they hit the speaking trail and make money doing that.

What's My Advice to Other Small Business Owners Getting Started?

Same advice as I've given to Barry. Do what you do. Show it off early and often with great content. When you get to be a bigger company with multiple products and services, multiple target markets and a large volume of interested visitors, start worrying more about the technology and tactics of inbound marketing. For now, just keep it simple and lead with your strength. If you're an A/C or car repair person or anything else, be a rockstar with great insights about what you know. The right people will find you.

PS - you can visit Barry at his perfectly adequate website, feldmancreative.com.

Photo credit: the Polon team

If you want to read more of my rants and other marginally relevant stuff, click here.

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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